It has been a long and tough three-and-a-half seasons for Dan Uggla with the Atlanta Braves. He left the Miami Marlins as a two-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger. His time in Atlanta has been pretty much a bust other than the 36 home runs he hit for the team in 2011. However, what is happening to Uggla isn’t fun for the team, the fans and especially himself.
At 34 years old, most people would kill to be in the major leagues, but it seems like Uggla is just a little bit past his prime on the baseball diamond. That’s not something that the fans should attack him over, which is exactly what is happening.
Do boos happen in sports? Sure. Is there a time when a player has worn out his welcome with a team? Sure. Is there a guy out there on the field that gives more effort on every single play like Uggla does when he’s on the field for the Braves? No.
I know that effort doesn’t mean everything when it comes to this sport. If a player doesn’t produce, teams are going to go out and find someone who will, regardless of the attitude of the player. However, the fans of the Braves need to realize that regardless of his position as a starter or benchwarmer, Uggla still wears that jersey with the word “Atlanta” across it.
That fact alone should garner some sort of respect from the fans of a team that is going through more problems than Uggla not playing.
While he has been sitting over the past month, it is most certain that he is unhappy with his position with the team. However, being owed $26 million over the next two seasons, it’s not likely that he will be moved by the trading deadline while hitting just .169 with 16 more strikeouts than hits. Therefore, it looks like the Braves will have to settle on eating the contract if they want to free themselves of Uggla to make room for a different player like Tommy La Stella.
As fans, we must understand that Uggla didn’t get the contract he has because he was going to be riding the pine in 2014. I’m sure that he would be much happier making less money and actually being out on the field himself. As a baseball player who gives 110 percent every time he takes the field, all Dan wants to do is play. There has only been little resistance because he respects the team, Fredi Gonzalez and his teammates enough to not go out and put them on blast during the season.
So let’s all remember as Brave fans that Uggla still wears the same jersey that La Stella, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward. Also, remember that when he was hitting those 36 home runs in 2011, he was busting his butt and giving 110 percent just like he has every single inning that he has played since then, struggles or not.
Now, give the man some respect for the way he has handled the truly bad situation that he is in, and be a true Braves fan — not a fair weather fan.